There are some (actually a lot of!) Japanese words which are difficult to translate to English.
I've written about the greeting お疲れ様(otsukaresama) before.
Today, let's talk about the expression しょうがない(shouganai).
"Shouganai" is very Japanese expression and one of the most difficult words to translate.
I would describe
"I can't do anything, so I give up"
"Shouganai" is used in those situations.
-She was going to coming to our party but her schedule has been changed and she canceled. It's "shouganai".
-The shoes I wanted to buy were sold out when I went to the shop. I should've been there earlier. It's "shouganai".
-I have wrinkles on my face and I don't like them. It's "shouganai".
If the topic is very serious like earthquake or someone's death, you don't say "shouganai".
"shouganai" sounds too light for those serious situation.
When I wrote this topic on Twitter, some people suggested their ideas of translation for it.
"whatcha gonna do?"
"it can't be helped."
"It's not worth complaining about."
"That's just the way it is."
Since I don't really understand the actual nuance of those English words, I can't tell which is the "best answer" but discussing this kind of topic is always very interesting.
Oh, by the way, there are polite ways to say "shouganai", too.
Having different polite level for one expression is complicated?
Special thanks to Japan This, Billy and Richard on Twitter conversation!
Here is the website about Japan "Japan This".
Check his informative and cool blog!